On Sunday afternoon in Atlanta, Georgia the Falcons moved to 3-1 under interim coach Raheem Morris. We are finally getting to see the Falcons we thought we would see right off the bat.
The Falcons overall record stands at 3-6 now, which is clearly a lot better than their 0-5 start under Dan Quinn. Now the chatter around town is “what if Arthur Blank fired Dan Quinn earlier?” or that Falcons didn’t give up the silly losses to the Bears, Lions, and Cowboys. Oh well, we are here and if you don’t feel good looking ahead, you’re not alone, but Morris wants to change your mindset.
“The Dirty Birds are back,” Morris said after Sunday’s game via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution when asked what beating Denver 34-27.
Are they? Let’s take a look.
A Look at Atlanta vs. Broncos
The Falcons got off to a bad start, but nothing new here for a team who stars in a tale of two halves because they came out and fired back in the second and certainly locked it in in the fourth.
QB1 Matty Ice finished 25-of-35 for 284 yards with three touchdowns and one interception to seal a victory.
Ryan has lifted his play over the past four games, completing at least 70% of his passes while throwing eight touchdowns just two interceptions. His streak continued on Sunday even with the absence of Calvin Ridley, who is dealing with a foot injury. Second-year player Olamide Zaccheaus stepped into the starting role and reeled in four catches for 103 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown reception late in the first quarter which put Atlanta ahead 10-0.
As for the defense, they were forced to operate without sack machines Dante Fowler Jr. and Takkarist McKinley, and some others. However, the secondary still managed nine QB hits and a sack on Drew Lock, which finally gave Atlanta some help.
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Some Awesome Stats to Take Note Of
While you still might not have hope in Atlanta, here are some stats to keep the faith.
Ryan’s 51-yard TD pass to Zacchaeus had 56.68 yards of air distance, which marks the veteran QB’s longest on a touchdown pass in the last five seasons.
Even without Ridley, Atlanta won and Zaccheaus showed some incredible vertical speed, maxing out at 20 mph Sunday, per NextGen Stats. And he was able to fight through pass interference by Davontae Harris to reel in that 51-yard score. Even though his performance was up against an injured Broncos secondary, Zaccheaus did enough to earn more time on the field. So, we really don’t have to worry about Ridley hurrying to get better.
Also on offense, Brandon Powell scored his first NFL touchdown and Christian Blake caught three passes.
Before Morris’ takeover, Atlanta was allowing 32 points per game with its 0-5 start. Since then, the defense has tightened up, yielding just 23 points on average over the last four outings.
The Falcons still have a big hole to climb out of from here. They head into a bye week this Week 10, then come out on the other side to take on Drew Brees and the Saints twice in three weeks.
Morris Calls Out the Media
One thing I love about Morris is that he will always admit his mistakes and it’s hard to not wish the best for a coach who is like that.
Another great thing about him is that he’s not afraid to put his foot down to tell you how it is.
A reporter asked him why he didn’t score once more in the third quarter, his response–“Why are you guys so negative? That’s what I’ve got to ask. Don’t be so greedy.”
That sounds like what Julio Jones said last week…
Morris, so far, has taken a horrendous team and flipped them around in back-to-back seasons and he’s right, the media still strikes at him for no reason (yet). A win is a win, despite the mistakes Atlanta made, and this was a fairly solid one. We have seen this team get better week-by-week.
For now, to the media and fans, let’s stop asking ignorant questions and put our own spark into this new winning team.
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